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November 18, 2001 AM

Jno 8:28-32

INTRO: One person says to another, Let me give you a tip. What does he mean? Probably he wants to give some piece of advice which will be of help or benefit to the other person. By their usual nature tips are fairly brief and to the point. I like tips. They are usually easy to remember and well intentioned. Last Lords day I began a little series of lessons which I am calling Tips For Christian Living. The little tips are coming from verses of scripture which give us advice on such a practical level.

- More Tips -

I. 1 Thes 5:21 Make life choices carefully

a. its so easy to let circumstances determine behavior

b. where we are; with whom we are; how we are feeling; etc.

c. and choices that are really bad and which have serious consequences are made

d. test, examine, prove all things ... few decisions of a moral, ethical or spiritual nature are so minuscule that they require no thought

e. test your choices by the word of God - the standard

f. hold fast to the good but what does that say about the evil?

2. 1 Thes 5:22 Avoid even the questionable things

a. some of my most regrettable mistakes have involved those things that fell into what we like to call gray areas

b. steer clear of evil in any form

c. the suggestions of steering clear means way beyond

d. I dont like snakes - especially poisonous snakes ... if I should see one this would not be my thought process: I wonder how close to him I can come without being bitten - yours?

e. 2 Tim 2:22 some things to flee; some things to embrace

f. I have never regretted avoiding evil ... its when I havent been careful that the regrets have come

3. 2 Tim 2:5 There is no right way to do a wrong thing

a. here is one of the great truths in Scripture

b. no matter the motivation we cannot make wrong into right

c. when Moses struck the rock, could have justified his conduct by saying, I was provoked. I was angry. - punished

d. sin is always sin ... no amount of self-deception changes it

e. so, its important to know the rules to avoid disqualification

f. 1 Cor 10:24-27 dont be disqualified for choosing to live outside the assigned lane

4. Col 3:23 Give it all youve got

a. as to the Lord - doesnt that insist on our best

b. 1 Cor 10:31 to the glory of God

c. life is filled with ho hum attitudes and people

d. mediocrity reigns as the way of life for so many

e. the context of Col 3:23 give this secular employment a spiritual dimension ... mediocrity is unthinkable

f. Christians are called to diligence in all they do

5. Col 4:6 Be very careful of your speech

a. 1 Pet 3:10

b. James knew exactly the danger of the tongue: the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity (Jas 3:6)

c. what a blessing wholesome, gracious speech can be - but with our speech we can devastate

d. if I had to give just one cause of trouble in relationships, Id have to say, the tongue

e. be careful of your speech, and youll be spared so much misery ... and will spare others

f. here is a tip we all know - but its a tip often lost in selfishness, thoughtlessness

CLOSE: Looking at these tips, I am able to conclude that our life in Christ may not be as complicated as I thought. But my life becomes incredibly complicated if I ignore these tips!

Cecil A. Hutson

18 November 2001

God's Plan of Salvation

You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)

You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)

You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)

You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)

Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)